WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Students, faculty, staff and fans sent the Howard Men’s basketball team off in a big way Tuesday.

People met the players outside of Cramton Auditorium around 1:30 p.m. before the team headed to Iowa where they were scheduled to take on the Kansas Jayhawk as part of NCAA March Madness.

“It’s just a big event you know? This is something the school has been waiting for for so long,” said fan and student Skylar Hudson. “And it’s just been so fun. We’ve been watching them work hard all season.”

Howard earned the trip as the Bison captured the MEAC title last weekend. It’s the Bison’s first conference crown since 1992.

“I’ve been paying attention to this event ever since I was like 12 years old,” said Justin Hudson, another student and fan. “I always had to root for another team, another university. But finally, I can say my team got in.”

Director of Athletics Kery Davis is excited about the tournament appearance, and not just for his university.

“We knew this kind of win, in this city, would be an energizing moment for the entire city,” Davis said. “Not just our campus, not just our love, but for the entire DMV area.”

Players are glad for the support.

“It means everything to have the students out here, the community,” said Bison guard Jelani Williams. “It’s been a long time coming for the university. So glad we were able to get it done. More grateful to see everyone out here. It means everything.”

Players and coaches boarded their buses and their date with history.

Howard enters this year’s tournament as the No. 16 seed. That’s the same rank it had when it lost to No. 1 Kansas in the 1992 tournament, which is the last time both programs faced each other.

The first-round matchup takes place Thursday at 2 p.m.